Camden traffic wardens celebrate pay deal after 59 days of strike action

More than 100 workers took part in the successful, eight-week industrial action

Workers on picket line holding placards that read 'pay rise now: no slave labour' and 'Camden council: no slave labour'

The new deal will see pay increased from £12.70 an hour to £15 an hour, backdated from April 2023. This is a significant improvement on the original 57p per hour increase that had been offered by the employer.

From April 2024 traffic wardens will receive £15.90 an hour. In April 2025 there will be a further increase of either 60p an hour or the RPI rate of inflation. As a consequence, by 2025 staff will be on a minimum hourly rate of £16.50.

More than 100 workers took part in the successful, eight-week industrial action, a final escalation in their long-running dispute with NSL, Camden Council’s private contractor.

The wardens, who are mainly low-paid Black staff, work outdoors for 42.5 hours a week, in all weather, and were classified as key workers during the pandemic. They regularly receive racist abuse for carrying out their work.

UNISON steward Emmanuel said: “I’m proud of the union as we end our 59 days of strike action. This is my first time taking indefinite strike action, and I saw the spirit and tenacity of members. New members joined us and boosted the strike action. We were there in the heat, cold and rain marching through Camden.

“I believe collective action is the key to a successful strike, there is strength in unity.”

Workers picketing

Strikers picket Marston Holdings head office in Birmingham

As well as picketing Camden Council, strikers also picketed the head office of Marston Holdings, the parent company to NSL. UNISON members from Birmingham and Sandwell local government branches joined them.

UNISON Camden branch secretary Liz Wheatley said: “This is a fantastic victory for Camden traffic wardens. After eight weeks of strikes they have finally been offered a proper pay deal.

“The pay boost is no more than they deserve. Their determination to fight for fairness is a real inspiration and other workers should be encouraged by the success of their long-running battle for fair wages.”

Throughout their long-running dispute, the workers received messages of solidarity and support on picket lines from across the union.

UNISON steward Stella said: “I’d like to thank everyone in UNISON for their support during our 59 days of continuous strike action. Your messages of solidarity and support have helped us stay motivated and determined to fight for a win.”

UNISON London regional organiser Steve Terry said: “Camden traffic wardens have shown courage and resilience throughout the dispute and can be proud of this achievement.”